How to convert a basic machine with Axis GUI to PlasmaC Gmoccapy GUI

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19 Apr 2020 04:33 #164579 by CFE
Hi all,

After many tribulations we finally got a basic XXYZ plasma cutter working, with the Axis GUI. For a reason I do not understand I could not get a Stepconf configuration based on Gmoccapy working with 2 motors on the X-axis. As soon as I added the kinstype=BOTH line in the INI file the Gmoccapy screen would not show the readout, and nothing worked.

Anyway, I did manage to setup the machine with the Axis GUI and got it running. Now I like to build a PlasmaC configuration, but that is given me headaches. Our machine is based on 2 parallel ports. I ask you all : when I run the PlasmaC configurator, it asks for the HAL pins for torch on and so on, what do I fill in there ? Is it the actual HAL pin that connects to the parallel port, for instance parport.0.pin-1-out for torch on ?

When using Gmoccapy, is it mandatory to fill in a homing sequence or a homing override, even when we are not using home/limit switches at this moment (they will be added later) ?

Is there anybody who has a working PlasmaC configuration on parallel ports, with a THCAD-10 card ? If so, can we get a copy of the ini and hal files (including connections and tcl hal), so we can work out how to set our machine up ?

Any help is greatly appreciated, we have been struggling massively through the process of setting up LinuxCNC (mainly because of incomplete, incomprehensible or scattered documentation). Any clarity from all who are well versed in this field would be very helpful.

Cheers, Peter

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19 Apr 2020 04:40 #164582 by phillc54

After many tribulations we finally got a basic XXYZ plasma cutter working, with the Axis GUI. For a reason I do not understand I could not get a Stepconf configuration based on Gmoccapy working with 2 motors on the X-axis. As soon as I added the kinstype=BOTH line in the INI file the Gmoccapy screen would not show the readout, and nothing worked.

Is there any particular reason you wanted kinstype=both? it should work fine without it.


I ask you all : when I run the PlasmaC configurator, it asks for the HAL pins for torch on and so on, what do I fill in there ? Is it the actual HAL pin that connects to the parallel port, for instance parport.0.pin-1-out for torch on ?

Yes


When using Gmoccapy, is it mandatory to fill in a homing sequence or a homing override, even when we are not using home/limit switches at this moment (they will be added later) ?

If you have a homing sequence it allows you to do a home all, otherwise you will need to home each joint individually and if you have a gantry with synchronised joint you cannot home those joints individually


Is there anybody who has a working PlasmaC configuration on parallel ports, with a THCAD-10 card ? If so, can we get a copy of the ini and hal files (including connections and tcl hal), so we can work out how to set our machine up ?

I can't help with this one.

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19 Apr 2020 06:32 #164598 by rodw
It might have changed but I learnt that Gmoccappy did not like kinstype=both back in 2017 and I have never used it that way.

It will allow you to home the axes that do not have joint axes defined. But to home the gantry you will need home switches and click on home all.

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19 Apr 2020 06:37 #164599 by phillc54

It will allow you to home the axes that do not have joint axes defined. But to home the gantry you will need home switches and click on home all.

No, all you need is a home sequence. Home switches are not a requirement.

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20 Apr 2020 02:04 #164707 by CFE
Hi all,

We are still having problems. If I change the display from Axis to Gmoccapy in the base configuration then the DRO shows no numbers. If I remove the line kinstype=both then the machine works, but only 1 motor instead of the 2 motors on the X-axis works. For some reason Gmoccapy just doesn't work with kinstype=both.

Then the next problem crops up : if we can't get Gmoccapy to run on a base configuration, then how are we going to run this machine with PlasmaC based on Gmoccapy ? I can run the machine with PlasmaC and the Axis GUI, but we would like to use Gmoccapy in conjunction with our touchscreen.

And I have another question : how do I connect the ARC voltage signal from a THCAD-10 via a parallel port in HAL ? The documentation shows how to do do it with Mesa cards, but nothing on how to do it with a parallel port. We are not seasoned HAL programmers, so if somebody knows how to do that, then that would be great.

Cheers, Peter

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20 Apr 2020 02:14 #164708 by phillc54

We are still having problems. If I change the display from Axis to Gmoccapy in the base configuration then the DRO shows no numbers. If I remove the line kinstype=both then the machine works, but only 1 motor instead of the 2 motors on the X-axis works. For some reason Gmoccapy just doesn't work with kinstype=both.

Then the next problem crops up : if we can't get Gmoccapy to run on a base configuration, then how are we going to run this machine with PlasmaC based on Gmoccapy ? I can run the machine with PlasmaC and the Axis GUI, but we would like to use Gmoccapy in conjunction with our touchscreen.

What version of LinuxCNC are you using?
Can you zip your complete config and post it.


And I have another question : how do I connect the ARC voltage signal from a THCAD-10 via a parallel port in HAL ? The documentation shows how to do do it with Mesa cards, but nothing on how to do it with a parallel port. We are not seasoned HAL programmers, so if somebody knows how to do that, then that would be great.

You need to connect it to a hal software encoder the same way that it would connect to a hardware encoder.
linuxcnc.org/docs/2.8/html/man/man9/encoder.9.html
I will try to add it to your config:
  1. no guarantees as I have not actually done it
  2. if it works I will add it to the docs

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20 Apr 2020 04:12 #164722 by rodw
Re the problem of only one motor on an axis moving, you need to read homing configuration in the docs.

It will allow you to home the axes that do not have joint axes defined. But to home the gantry you will need home switches and click on home all.

No, all you need is a home sequence. Home switches are not a requirement.


So make sure the two joints that make up your gantry have HOME_SEQUENCE -1 in your ini file (check my syntax / spelling)

I will say based on Phill's comment about not needing home separate switches is at odds for me. How can you square a gantry otherwise? My gantry can be up to 6" out of square and straighten itself on homing with homing switches.

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20 Apr 2020 04:20 #164725 by phillc54

I will say based on Phill's comment about not needing home separate switches is at odds for me. How can you square a gantry otherwise? My gantry can be up to 6" out of square and straighten itself on homing with homing switches.


It may be a bit difficult on a large machine but not impossible. On my little machine it is easy as.

I was pointing out the fact that home switches are NOT mandatory.
The following user(s) said Thank You: rodw

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20 Apr 2020 04:31 #164729 by rodw
Funny when I started building my machine, the joint axis experimental branch just got to the shiny new V2.8 branch and almost no one other than me was using it. At the time, before I even started, I had the distinct impression that home switches were required for joint axes. I know I found a few bugs back then, maybe things changed. Maybe too many people complained about having to home their machine.

The kinstype=both caused me a lot of grief until I deleted it. That removal was mandatory (and this requirement was undocumented) then too but Linuxcnc seems to have enabled it again.

I'm quite happy to hit home all to get everything sorted out at the beginning of the day...... But I do that at 6 metres a minute so it never takes long...

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20 Apr 2020 04:33 #164730 by CFE
Hi Phil,

We have Linuxcnc 2.8 on the system.

I have attached a zip file of a configuration based on the Axis/lasmaC GUI for our machine. I am trying to work out how to connect the output from the THCAD-10 to the parallel port, with an encoder input through HAL. That will give us enough extra headaches I think.

We would also like to know how to change from the Axis GUI to Gmoccapy/PlasmaC so we work it with the touchscreen. As mentioned before Gmoccapy doesn't seem to work with kinstype=BOTH, which is baffling us. It would be nice to know why and if it's not going to work, why is it mentioned as an option for a plasma cutter ? I suppose most plasma machines are gantry machines, surely it every PlasmaC GUI should be able to run 2 motors on 1 axis without problems, the Axis GUI does it.

Cheers, Peter
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